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Historical Society reopens with plans for ‘Candlelight Tour of Old Jail’

The 2021 installment of the popular Candlelight Tour of the Old Jail is likely to be a welcome relief from the restrictions realized by the pandemic of 2020. The Claiborne County Historical & Genealogical Society has announced its intention of bringing back the event as part of the nonprofit’s public reopening.

Built in 1819, those rock and frame double-walls could surely tell some frightening tales. Leave it to the gouls and goblins of All Hallows Eve to whisper the stories as visitors make their way through the two-story limestone and brick building.

The Old Jail, which was added in 2007 to the National Register of Historic Places, is the oldest freestanding jail in Tennessee. The structure has undergone some impressive renovations since being taken over by the Historical Society. A new roof was installed in 2012. The following year, with the help of federal grants, the front and south sides of the building were repaired to prevent further deterioration.

Plans continue to be developed for massive renovation of the interior to restore the structure to as near the original as possible.

The Historical Society is actively searching for volunteers to help prepare for the Candlelight Tour, which is usually held in October.

Meanwhile, the Society will be holding its next monthly meeting on Sept. 11, beginning at 3:30 p.m. at its location across from the Claiborne County Library at the intersection of Hickory and Old Knoxville Road.

The Historical & Genealogical Society is open to the public each Wednesday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for research and inquiries.

Due to COVID-19, Society spokesperson Carolyn Lambert says things will be taken slowly as social distancing will be practiced.

If you cannot attend the meeting or the regular Wednesday research days, you may catch members of the Society during the Genealogy Jamboree, slated for Oct. 15-16 in the historic town of Cumberland Gap.

For more information, call the office at: 423-526-5737 or email your research questions to: cchgs_info@yahoo.com

The Claiborne County Historical &Genealogical Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history of Claiborne County.

You may mail your tax deductible contributions or annual membership dues to CCHGS; P.O. Box 32, Tazewell TN 37879.